An American in Italy – Amanda Knox (2016)

A study, but not brimming with solutions.  Dubbed Italy’s trial of the century, this is a documentary about an American exchange student who got tried for the murder of her friend and fellow student in 2007, and through a very long process of Italian law and order, eventually got acquitted in 2011… and in 2015.  Now this case may have be long and drawn out, but I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to the news on a daily basis, so this was brand new to me.  I do feel like I learned something here, but this did strike me as being something that is meant for people who already liked documentaries beforehand.

1I don’t think this is going to be the one to change your mind if you weren’t already a fan of the documentary genre.

If you are also already a fan of the Netflix series Making a Murderer, this is also up your alley because they do share a number of similarities: an extended trial, questionable police work, and a murder surrounded by myserious details.  You know that this happens more often than actually gets reported by the media, and so often police pin the crime on the easiest person.  There was sex involved?  Oh, well then that makes it easy to connect the dots.  There is plenty of camera time given to Amanda Knox here, but she straight up tells you in the beginning: “either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing or I am you.”  The documentary allows you to make up your own mind, but it does seem like a pretty one-sided of an argument.

2The biggest villain presented here is the media in this, even more than the actual murderer.

Unlike Making a Murderer, this doesn’t seem like a case of crooked cops.  Shoddy police work, maybe, but it’s not like there was an officer planting keys next to a dresser or anything.  This is an interesting documentary, but it doesn’t feel like it offers any concrete answers.  All signs point to one person, but from my understanding, that has always been true in this case, which makes it very curious on why it took the better part of a decade to clear this girl’s name.  We may never know exactly what happened, but this makes for an interesting documentary.

Amanda Knox (2016) ***1/2

– Critic for Hire


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